My Experience Converting Arrival Plus to a No-Fee Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

Last Monday I wrote  a post on my experience with redeeming points from Barclaycard Arrival Plus.  I’ve mentioned that my plan was to convert it to a regular Arrival version so I wouldn’t have to pay an annual fee down the road. Originally, I was going to send a secure message to save time.

However, my reader Uri mentioned that I may get a small points bonus if I do a conversion over the phone. So, that’s what I did. I went ahead and asked the retention specialist if there was any offer attached to my account in case  I decided to downgrade. She said I could get 1,000 points after my first purchase. I took the offer. It would have been awesome to get 20,000 points, but I could tell by the rep’s voice that this wasn’t going to happen.

She mentioned that my annual fee isn’t due for the next few months, but since I constantly work on minimum spending requirements for other cards, I saw no point in keeping it. Sure, there is a chance that Barclay’s would send me a juicy retention offer right before the fee kicked in, but I just wanted to get this thing out of the way.

The process was quite painless, and I should get my new card within a week. If I get my 1,000 points as planned, I won’t need to top off the account in order to reach the minimum 2,500 points’ redemption level. The plan is to possibly buy a $25 Southwest gift card or try to charge a $25 dining bill while staying at a hotel. That way it should code as a travel purchase.

Now I needed to figure out what to do with my husband’s account. He absolutely hates calling, so I wanted to see if I could do the conversion via secure message. Naturally, I asked if they would give him 1,000 points bonus as well. No dice. I got  a response that the card wasn’t eligible for conversion. Say what?

So, it looks like we’ll have to call after all. I’ll just get my husband to verify all the details before handing me the phone. He has 4,300 points left, which is almost enough  for a $50 travel redemption, so I really don’t want to lose that amount.

Why this was possibly a NOT so smart move

By doing this conversion I might have precluded myself from getting a sign-up bonus on Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard in the future. Sure, it’s nothing spectacular at only $200, but still.

There aren’t that many cards that offer straight travel credit, which is very valuable to me. Far more valuable than miles or hotel points, in fact. Barclaycard offers are supposed to be churnable, but some latest data points suggest that the rules may be changing. It’s hard to say for sure with these things unless you personally try applying.

Still, if I do apply for one of Barclaycard products in a near future, it will most likely be Jet Blue Plus card. First, I will cancel the no-fee Arrival (after redeeming the points). Usually it helps  to not have too much available credit with any given bank. You can see all the best Barclaycard offers when it comes to family travel in this post.

I really hate losing points, which is why I decided to go for “bird in a hand” approach. Would it be better if I just canceled Arrival Plus without converting it? Who knows. But I will most likely find out at some point.

It does appear that if you want to apply for no-fee version, you’ll need to first  close  Arrival Plus.

My reader Erik wrote me about his recent experience:

“So – here’s what I did with Barclay’s. About a month before my annual fee was due for the Arrival+, I applied for the basic no-fee Arrival with 20K sign-up bonus after $1K spend. After submitting my application, I did not get an instant approval but got the “We need more time to review your application” message.

I waited a few days and proactively called Barclay’s reconsideration line about my application status. The rep told me that they could not approve because I already had the Arrival+. I explained that I wanted to cancel the Arrival+ and their rep had advised me to sign up for the Arrival instead of the downgrade so that I could get the 20K sign-up bonus.

She said, OK, no problem, I can approve that – just give me permission to close your Arrival+ and I will approve your Arrival. Which I did and had the card in my hands a few days later. It’s pretty easy for us to spend $1,000 in a month between groceries, dining, etc. so I had my 20K bonus posted to my first statement.

Note that before you do this, you should liquidate your Arrival+ points as much as you can because they will not transfer. I had managed to get my Arrival+ point balance below 500 so it was no biggie to lose it when I was getting 20K points for the bonus.”

I just hope I don’t lose my leftover points due to this downgrade. Developing…

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2 thoughts on “My Experience Converting Arrival Plus to a No-Fee Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

  1. Another Barclay’s tip: if you have other cards with them (like AAviator, Frontier, etc.), ask the rep if there are any offers available on those cards that could be used to entice you to keep the card (if that’s what you want to do). I had the Arrival+ for 2 years before ditching it. The only reason that I renewed after the first year is that the retention rep proactively said something like – “I can’t give you anything on the Arrival+, but I can give you statement credit on X and points on Y which will more than cover the AF on the Arrival+. Will you keep it?” I said sure…but then later that year they changed their program to have the higher minimum redemption rate, dropped the free TripIt Pro, etc.which seriously eroded the value proposition IMHO so I decided the regular Arrival was in my best interest going forward.

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    • @Erik Thanks for advice! I’m probably going to call about my Aviator card in a month or so. The main reason I want to keep it another year is so I would have access to better mileage redemption rates on hotels via AAdvantage. How crazy is that?
      I want to cancel my Citi AA card so I can reset the clock on the sign-up bonus qualification. This hobby is making my head spin sometimes just keeping up with all the details… I’ll have a post on it at some point. It’s likely Barclay’s will send me a spending bonus offer like they did last year, which would make it even more appealing.

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